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FG Urged To Channel More Funding To Healthcare

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal and State governments to channel more funds to healthcare delivery in Nigeria with a view to save more lives and ensure a healthier society.

A Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons and past Chairman of NMA in Cross River, Dr Kofi Ikpeme, made the call on Saturday during the NMA South South Zonal Meeting in Calabar.

Ikpeme said that the Nigerian health sector had continued to witness a decline due to the poor budgetary allocation channelled to the health sector.

He said that the national budget for the health sector in Nigeria has been fluctuating between 5-8 per cent over the years, adding that the percentage was low.

According to him, the World Health Organisation Conference in Geneva had recommended and approved 21 per cent allocation of a country’s national budget to the health sector.

He urged medical doctors who may find themselves in leadership positions to use the opportunity to lobby the government to improve on the funding of the healthcare sector in Nigeria.

“The state of our general and teaching hospitals is deteriorating by the day. The federal and state governments have failed to improve on our budget for the health sector.

“Nigeria’s national budget now fluctuates between 5-8 per cent and this allocation is not good enough because it cannot meet the health needs of millions of Nigerians.

“The Federal Government should follow the WHO Geneva conference by allocating 21 per cent of its national budget to the health sector,’’ he said.

Earlier, Dr Agam Ayuk, Chairman of NMA, South South Zone, said that the meeting was organised to appraise the level of healthcare delivery by medical practitioners in the South South.

Ayuk said that the health sector has a lot of financial gaps and untapped financial potentials which you find in other countries who have made landmarks in health.

“We are using this meeting to look at the health issues in South South; which involves healthcare delivery, universal health coverage and the practice condition of our doctors and how we can bring out solutions.

“For us, this is an important event and we hope that the resolution of the meeting will be used to better the health of the South South people,’’ he said.

He commended Governor Ben Ayade of the state for passing into law the State Health Insurance bill, thereby urging him to institute the take-off grant for the scheme to kick off.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Inyang Asibong, said that the State Health Insurance Scheme was designed to offer affordable healthcare service to all Cross Riverians.

(the nation)

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